SINT EUSTATIUS - State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje van Veldhoven, arrived on St. Eustatius Wednesday afternoon to a full programme of activities and site tours. Van Veldhoven and her delegation were welcomed upon their arrival at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Airport, by Government Commissioner, Marcolino Franco and Deputy Government Commissioner, Mervyn Stegers.
State Secretary van Veldhoven visited several sites around Statia mainly with regards to the approach of soil erosion in order to protect the coral reefs. These sites included among others the illegal dumpsite near the airport runway where a massive cleanup recently took place through the cooperation between the Public Entity St. Eustatius and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
A brief visit was made to the STUCO Solar Park, also known as the sustainability project. Mr. Jeffrey Lewis, Director of Statia Waste Management Plant, provided a full tour and detailed explanation of the waste separation and recycling process at the facility.
This included a visit to the dumpsite where large household waste is stored and separated and also a drive through of Man-o-War where hundreds of car wrecks were removed earlier this year in a two phased approach. The removal of the car wrecks was made possible through subsidy from the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management.
Also important for van Veldhoven was to see and hear firsthand how the St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) manages the Zeelandia Beach, which is the main nesting ground for sea turtles? Jessica Berkel of STENAPA explained the work the nature organization does to keep this nesting ground safe and Zeelandia beach maintained.
The day’s activities further included a meeting with Director of NUSTAR, Mr. Terrence Keogh and representatives of the NUSTAR management team followed by a tour of the facilities.
On Tuesday July 16th an agreement (declaration of intent) will be signed on working together to put an end to the use of disposable plastics, in order to keep St. Eustatius clean and livable and to preserve its unique nature. On Tuesday van Veldhoven continues on to Bonaire before returning to the Netherlands. (GIS St. Eustatius)